SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Everyone has a fish story, but not everyone’s is as heartwarming as John Brown’s.
Brown spent half his life on the water, and one more day there for the second half.
“It’s just something I didn’t believe would happen again, but here I am,” he said.
Brown arrived at Hogan’s Marina this week - an on Josiah Riffle’s fishing boat - on a wish and a prayer answered by the staff of Savannah’s PruittHealth, where Brown is a long-term care patient.
“I said I was going to ask every resident in the nursing home and ask if they could have just one wish, what would it be,” said Renee Gresham Crawford, PruittHealth Admission Director.
“First thing that came to my mind was fishing. I love to fish.”
“He was the first resident I saw and I said ‘okay, we’re going to make that happen,” Crawford said.
So, before he knew it, Brown, who is 70 and says he has not dropped a line in 35 years, was headed out into Turner Creek and beyond with Captain Josiah and two caretakers - and he wasn’t just fishing. He was catching.
“His first cast, he got one right off the bat, so I knew it was going to be a good day then, and he didn’t miss one fish,” said Josiah Riffle, Southern Saltwater Charters.
“Beautiful. The water was nice, the weather turned out to be nice, and our luck was beautiful.”
“His eyes lit up. He was excited. You could tell he loves fishing.”
“He was great. He said we made his dream for the year,” said Katrina Brehler, PruittHealth Activities Director.
The day also made up for so many years when he was too busy to get on the water - and recent ones when his health wouldn’t allow it.
“I always thought about fishing. I used to work on a shrimp boat, and I loved that work. It was just too hard for an older man,” Brown said.
He came back with a bucket full of fish and memories that he planned to hold onto.
“The rest of my life. ‘What do you like to do most?’ And that’s what I like to do most in life."
PruitHealth is attempting to grant wishes to several of its residents through the company’s Committed to Caring Program in partnership with the Second Winds Foundation.